Who is the Filipino?


by Nicole Lantin

To know your target audience requires going deeper into their hearts and souls. Who really purchase your brand? Who really is the Filipino?

Here are the general Filipino themes which show key situations and beliefs that will greatly affect the Filipino people:

  1. Budget is the biggest stressor

budget is stressor

Filipinos like any other races, value money so when taken away, it becomes one or most probably, our biggest stressor. One respondent of this research by Acumen Strategic Consulting Inc. mentioned that almost all his money/ salary were spent for daily needs and debts which seem to be endless.

With this, Filipinos found ways to cope with this stressor. We tend to buy second-hand clothes from the “Ukay-ukay” than buying expensive branded clothes. Surplus shops are our alternatives in purchasing television and other home appliances which we repair D-I-Y (Do-it-Yourself) when broken to save money.

filipino budget problem


“Sari-sari” stores (variety stores) are increasing because small purchases can be made to fit the small budget of most E-level families. Some generous store owners do even allow buyers to “utang” or debit. In the case of the fast food chains, efforts to increase budget meal offerings/promos were done to attract Filipino customers.

Although they prefer the cheaper commodities, Filipinos still consider quality as a big factor in our buying decisions.


  1. Happy people. It would not take much to make us happy

filipino smiling

Filipinos are known for being happy people. It wouldn’t take much to make us happy even in the midst of tragedy like super typhoons. Though houses are submerged in waters, one can still see men and women smiling and waving with the site of the camera.

One respondent of this research who is an expat who used to live in the Philippines said, “What I miss about the Philippines is the people—always full of smiles, happiness and laughter that are infectious; there is a kind of joy and happiness that you see from everyone you interact with, which is absolutely amazing to see: despite the hardships they endure, they are happy.”

filipino in flood smiling

It is a part of our coping strategies.

Problems of life? We learned to play with it. Filipino creativity outpours along with the downpour of difficult situations. One obvious example is the memes which we often share on our social media sites because it is really impossible not to relate.

We make irony out of our bitter fate.

Hugot lines are viral. Almost everybody has his/her own bitter lines shared on social media that instead of being cried on, we laugh with.



  1. Family is my root and my universe

filipino family

This is evident on our extended family set-up. In a typical Filipino household, parents (even grandparents) usually live with their immediate family and children.

Our family is the source of our security. The world out there might not believe or accept us, still we’ve our families.

When asked what their priorities in life were, most of the respondents answered, FAMILY. “For me, it’s enough that my family is complete even though my world would fall apart. Nothing’s more important than my family and they are the reason why I live.”


  1. Highly social beings


Given: We are the social media capital of the world. This is something to brag about but Filipinos are excellent too in being a highly social being in face-to-face communication.

“My friends are really important to me, we do many things together and we like to try out new stuff, it gives you a feeling of being cool and that you’re a part of something important,” as one respondent said.

filipino friends

Our view is that life is difficult. It makes a difference when we are with our peers. We believe in the power of numbers. EDSA People Power Revolution can explain it.


  1. Faith is our source of hope and resilience


A rosary can be seen on a car’s rear mirror; the driver prays, then drives.

In relation to number 2, why can Filipinos smile in the midst of tragedies? It’s not just because we are innately happy people, but because we believe in the most supreme being– Christian or not. We know that although we are accountable to what’s happening in our lives, we acknowledge that God would still work in all things for our good.

filipino faith

With this, primetime TV shows aired in the Philippines contain themes regarding faith. E.g. Pari Ko’y of GMA Channel 7, Nathaniel of the competing station, ABS-CBN Channel 2. Religious feasts like the Feast of Black Nazarene are commonly being covered also by news stations.


  1. Matriarchal society


Filipinas have evolved from doing the house chores and being uneducated in the early colonial times to being woman executives and bread winners of the family.


Mothers compasses a large percentage of the consumer demographics. They identify and decide what commodities to buy for the family since they do the budgeting (as well as face the budgeting dilemma). Women’s power is reflected also in the world-wide trending Kalyeserye, ”Aldub” with the significant roles of the three Lolas (grandmothers) Tidora, Tinidora, and of course, Lola Nidora on the right way of finding true love like the what Alden Richards and Maine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza portrays.




  1. Education is important; ticket out of poverty


Philippines is a diploma country. It would be difficult for a non-graduate to land on a sufficient-paying job (not that it doesn’t really exist but competition for degree-holders are already tight). Child’s diploma is parents’ biggest achievement because our default solution to poverty is education. Filipinos even have this aphorism that education is the only treasure that parents could give to their children (which nobody could snatch); if land, most probably not hectares of it but a pot only!


  1. Face is important

beautiful filipinas


We value beauty that’s why different whitening soaps, lotion, anti-aging cream, weight-loss drinks, name it comes out of the market.

We love being beautiful and we want others to tell us how much we’ve changed, how much we’ve lost weight, how we look younger. Filipinas aim to turn back the clock’s hands to defy aging.

So why is face important to Filipinos?

Mahirap ka na nga, pangit ka pa?”  Being beautiful, like laughing is our way of coping with life’s struggles. A research reveals that as the economy declines, sales for lipstick goes up!

Filipinas believe that “ganda ang puhunan” or beauty is our investment for success.


The general Filipino themes mentioned here were discussed by Ms. Pauline Fermin, Managing Director of Acumen Brand Strategy Consultants during the Brand Boot Camp 2015 held last October 22-23, at SMX Convention Center SM Aura Premier, Taguig City.